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February 16, 2019

Three Alliance of American Football players who could interest the Eagles

A new football league called the Alliance of American Football kicked off last Saturday, and if you happened to catch some of the action, you saw that it wasn't awful. And a lot of people did, apparently, as the AAF beat out a good NBA product in TV ratings:

In addition to its early popularity among football fans, NFL scouts will be watching, as Hall of Famers (present and future) like Kurt Warner, Adam Vinatieri and Doug Pederson were formerly plucked from NFL Europe back in the day.

A week ago, we found 31 former Eagles players and/or coaches who are participating in the AAF. Today we'll note three additional players who the Eagles should be observing closely as the AAF season moves forward.

Luis Perez, QB, Birmingham Iron (6'3, 222)

One of the players who reportedly impressed NFL scouts in the first week of games was Iron QB Luis Perez. Interestingly, it was Perez's media session that stood out to some, via Chris Mortensen of ESPN:

Because of the tough nature of the Philadelphia media, when the Eagles bring in players for their 30 allotted pre-draft visits, they set up mock press conferences in which team employees ask difficult questions and try to rattle the young prospects. It was a piece of the process in which Carson Wentz impressed the team. It may sound silly to put stock in that kind of thing, but it is something that the team absolutely cares about, especially at the quarterback position.

Perez went to Division II Texas A&M Commerce, where he posted the following stats:

Luis Perez Comp-Att (Comp %) Yards (YPA) TD-INT 
2016 244-389 (62.7%)  3326 (8.6)32-5 
2017 421-596 (70.6%)  4999 (8.4)46-11 

As a player, Perez has good size at 6'3, 222. He's not the fleetest of foot, but his touch and accuracy looked good Week 1. Here are all of his throws in the Iron's first game:

The Eagles could be on the hunt for a third quarterback to develop this offseason, and if they could pluck one with legitimate skills from the AAF instead of using a draft pick on one, that would make a lot of sense. From Perez's perspective, it would it make sense to seriously consider joining the Eagles for a chance to make the team, seeing as the Eagles have had obvious success developing Wentz, Nick Foles, and Nate Sudfeld.

MORE: The draft or free agency: Where are the Eagles likely to improve each position this offseason? | What does the Joe Flacco trade mean for the Eagles and Nick Foles?

Jamar Summers, DB, Birmingham Iron (5'11, 190)

Summers is a player we profiled in our Grocery Shopping series back in 2017, when he played for UConn. He seemed like a good fit for the Eagles' defense at the time because he was a safety with cornerback experience in his background, which is of high importance to Jim Schwartz.

He was a productive ball hawk in college, grabbing eight interceptions in 2015. Below are all eight:

In his debut with the AAF, Summers picked off Christian Hackenberg.

This offseason, the Eagles could be looking for young safeties to add to the pipeline with Rodney McLeod entering a contract year and Malcolm Jenkins going into his 11th season in the NFL.

Ja’Quan Gardner, RB, San Diego Fleet (5'7, 206)

Gardner went to tiny Humboldt State, where he put up huge numbers:

Ja'Quan Gardner Rush Yards YPC TD 
2014 88 607 6.9 
2015 337 2266 6.7 25 
2016 249 1300 5.2 18 
2017 206 1322 6.4 21 
TOTAL 880 5495 6.2 72 

Over his college career, Garner added 81 catches for 767 yards and 4 TDs. He is a short, squatty back with a thick lower build. Here he is on a 25-yard run Week 1:

Gardner finished with 8 carries for 55 yards. The Eagles badly need help at running back, and they can use players to push borderline roster-worthy players like Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams. 

AAF Weekend Schedule

Saturday, February 16

Salt Lake Stallions at Birmingham Iron, 2:00 p.m., TNT

Arizona Hot Shots at Memphis Express, 8:00 p.m., NFL Network

Sunday, February 17

Orlando Apollos At San Antonio Commanders, 4:00 p.m., CBS

Atlanta Legends at San Diego Fleet, 8:00 p.m., NFL Network

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